Iowa State is riding a four-match winning streak but will face some tough competition this weekend as they head to Iowa City, Iowa, on Thursday to play in the Cy-Hawk Series tournament.
“I thought everybody had a very nice weekend and our offensive was really balanced, which makes my job easier,” said junior setter Piper Mauck. “There is still room for improvement in closing on our block from their outside hitters, but we’re showing progression.”
This past weekend, the Cyclones won the Appalachian Invitational and improved to 6-3 on the season.
The Cyclones' first opponent of the tournament is the Lipscomb Bisons, who they’ll play at 7 p.m. Thursday.
Lipscomb had a rough start to the season — starting the season 0-4 and losing all but one of their 13 sets played in that time. Since then, the Bisons have won three out of their last four matches, including a neutral-site victory over the Xavier Musketeers.
On the attack this season, the Bisons have not been good, as they have a hitting percentage of .164 and have had only a slightly better hitting percentage of .192 in their last four matches.
The Cyclones play their second game of the tournament against the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers at 1 p.m. Friday.
Coastal Carolina could not have asked for a better start to the season at 9-0. The Chanticleers received six votes to be ranked this week and have won all but two of their matches by at least two sets.
The Chanticleers have the best hitting percentage out of any of the 12 teams in the Sun Belt Conference, with a .328 hitting percentage that ranks sixth in the country.
Their defense has been good as well, as they held their opponents to a .168 hitting percentage.
Redshirt senior outside hitter Mariia Levanova leads the Chanticleers with a .315 hitting percentage, which is fourth among Sun Belt players.
Iowa State rounds out the Cy-Hawk Series tournament with a match against the Iowa Hawkeyes at 7 p.m. Saturday.
“They’ll have a lot of energy against us and it’s always a good game,” said junior libero Izzy Enna. “Their outside has been pretty big the past couple of seasons, so we need to close down the outside.”
Iowa started off the season 3-0, including a win over then-22nd-ranked Washington State Cougars, 3-0. Now it has three out of the five matches, including a 3-2 loss to the South Dakota Coyotes, whom Iowa State beat 3-0.
“They’re doing very well, they don’t look disorganized and they seem pretty cohesive,” said Iowa State head coach Christy Johnson-Lynch. “They run a pretty fast offense, their setter is very experienced and they’re a good team that’s solid in every aspect of the game.”
Junior defensive specialist Halle Johnston has been one of the best defensive players among Big Ten players as she has 149 digs, which is second in the conference.
The last eight out of 10 matches between Iowa and Iowa State have resulted in a victory for Iowa State.